No other film in recent times has faced as much scrutiny as Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat. From the attack in Jaipur where the sets were destroyed to the ongoing protests by the Rajput Karni Sena, the film has been in the eye of a storm and how! The film starts off with a disclaimer that it is based on Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi's poem Padmaavat. The work first published in 1540, ranks as one of the oldest poems in Awadhi language. The story of Queen Padmini of Chittor is a part of India's folklore. Many of us know about the brave queen who committed Jauhar rather than surrender her honour to the invader Alauddin Khilji. The trailer impressed us all and now it's time to find out what the film is all about.
What is it about?
Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) travels to the land of Singhal to get pearls for his wife Nagmati (Anupriya Goenka). There he meets Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) and instantly falls for her beauty. They marry and return to Chittor. Raghav Chetan, the guru of Maharawal Ratan Singh, tries to attack the king but is caught and exiled. He tells Khilji (Ranveer Singh) that Queen Padmavati is a woman of fabled beauty and brains and he should have her. Khilji begins his conquest but fails as she along with the women of Chittor commit Jauhar. The film is a combination of history and Muhammad Jayasi's poem Padmaavat.
The film is a visual delight and deserves a watch just for the beauty of its frames. Whether it's the introduction of Jalaluddin Khilji or Deepika's entry or the view of the Darbar of Alauddin, every shot leaves you awestruck. Kudos to Sudeep Chatterjee for his spectacular work. The second highlight is obviously Ranveer Singh as Khilji. The only one who looks imposing before him is Raza Murad as Jalaluddin. Ferocious, selfish, lecherous, tactical or crazily power-hungry, he brings alive all shades of Khilji with finesse and fervour. Deepika Padukone looks beautiful and grows on you as the film progresses. She will give you goosebumps in the climax. Shahid Kapoor gives a restrained performance as Maharawal Ratan Singh with his eyes conveying his emotions. Jim Sarbh lends the needed wickedness to his character of the effeminate slave general while Aditi Rao Hydari leaves an impact. The song Ghoomar is wonderfully choreographed and is a feast for the eyes. Ek Dil Ek Jaan also stands out because of its timing and soulful nature. As a story-teller, Bhansali extols on the virtues of Rajputs cherishing their honour and pride.
The story is a combination of Muhammad Jayasi's poem and folklore. While Padmaavat has the grandeur, it does not touch the emotional high especially the relationship between Maharawal Ratan Singh and Queen Padmavati. Though entertaining, some might find certain aspects of Khilji's projection OTT. The song where he is dancing with his generals reminds you of Malhari and one will find it hard to believe that Khilji really shook a leg like this!
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film is a visual delight and thoroughly entertaining fare, courtesy the epic performance by Ranveer Singh. It talks about Rajput pride and there is nothing that will offend anyone. At least, I couldn't find anything that can be termed offensive in anyway. And there is no dream sequence between Khilji and Padmavati.